As with pretty much everything in life, we expect much more from large sedans today than we did just a few years ago. Nowadays, we demand features and a level of quality that would have been reserved previously for vehicles bearing a luxury badge. In the case of the 2016 Kia Cadenza, these expectations are handily met, making it a solid choice among other strong contenders.
Sweetening the deal for 2016 is a new base trim level that gives the Cadenza a more accessible price, while higher trims gain a few features, too. For the relatively affordable price, you get a strong V6 engine, a pleasant and quiet cabin, an easy-to-operate infotainment system, plenty of high-tech safety features and industry-leading warranty coverage.
The 2016 Cadenza adds a base trim that lowers the cost of entry to Kia’s well-equipped large sedan.
Drawbacks are few and include rear seats that don’t fold to offer additional cargo capacity and the lack of an all-wheel-drive model for colder climates. There are also no fuel-efficient engine choices if you’re looking for something that delivers exceptional miles per gallon. As it stands, the Cadenza is rated slightly below the segment average in terms of fuel efficiency.
Among its chief competitors, the Edmunds “A”-rated Toyota Avalon is the standout for its added athleticism and earns high marks for comfort and interior quality. The 2016 Kia Cadenza just misses the coveted top grade, along with the Hyundai Azera on which it is based, but is in good company with the “B”-rated Chrysler 300. Also in this range, though to a slightly lesser degree, are the Chevrolet Impala and Volkswagen Passat sedans.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2016 Kia Cadenza is a large sedan that is offered in three trim levels: the new base Cadenza, Premium and Limited.
Standard features for the base Cadenza include 18-inch alloy wheels, auto-leveling headlights, foglights, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, full power accessories, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, wood interior trim, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat (eight-way power-adjustable for the front passenger), heated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen controller, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, Kia’s Uvo voice command system, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system with CD player, satellite radio and USB/auxiliary audio input.
Stepping up to the Premium trim adds power-folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, puddle lamps, a panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers, paddle shifters and wood trim on the steering wheel and shift knob.
Most of the K900’s materials have a very high-quality feel.
Available for the Premium trim is the Luxury Plus package that includes adaptive HID headlights, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alerts, a 7-inch virtual gauge cluster display, a heated power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, driver seat memory functions with an extendable seat cushion, heated outboard rear seats and a first aid kit. To this, the Technology package can be added and gets you 19-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system and an electronic parking brake.
At the top of the range, the Limited trim includes both the Luxury Plus and Technology packages, along with a surround-view camera system, a unique grille, LED foglights, LED interior lighting, additional wood and chrome trim accents and a USB charge port in the rear armrest.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering all 2016 Kia Cadenzas is a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 293 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control sends power to the front wheels. In Edmunds testing, it accelerated to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is about average for the class.
The EPA estimates fuel economy at 22 mpg in combined driving (19 city/28 highway).We confirmed these figures with our long-term Cadenza test that averaged 21.9 mpg overall.
Standard safety features for all 2016 Cadenzas include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, a rearview camera, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and hill-hold assist. The Premium and Limited trims also receive rear parking sensors. Optional on the Premium, but standard on the Limited trim are a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alerts and a lane departure warning system. A surround-view camera system is also standard on the Limited trim.
In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Cadenza was awarded the highest score of “Good” for moderate front overlap, side impact, roof strength and whiplash protection. In Edmunds testing, the Cadenza came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, which is several feet longer than most sedans in this class.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Cadenza benefits from an elegantly simple design and excellent ergonomics. Materials quality exceeds expectations for the typical large sedan, though some switches and buttons fall short of what we’d consider high end. The Uvo infotainment system is particularly noteworthy for its ease of use and sharp graphics.
For the average-size adult, the cabin is adequately spacious, with well-shaped seats that are sufficiently padded for long-distance comfort. Further reducing fatigue is the lack of road and wind noise. Taller passengers may find comfort compromised by the reduced headroom from the panoramic sunroof, which is standard on Premium and Limited trims, and a lack of front seat thigh support.
The Cadenza’s rear seat is spacious, offering an ample amount of legroom for stretching out.
The Cadenza’s 15.9-cubic-foot trunk is just a bit smaller than its chief rivals, but the inability to fold the rear seats limits the transport of larger items. Interior storage is about average, with medium-size bins and door pockets for personal items.
The Kia Cadenza places very few demands on drivers, which is precisely what we expect from a large near-luxury sedan. Acceleration is smooth, even when selecting gears manually via the shift paddles. The brakes can be a bit abrupt initially, but they become predictable in a short time. Steering effort is appropriately light, though some drivers have reported a slight delay between quick inputs and the car’s reaction.
The ride quality is pleasant overall, but some sharp impacts occasionally make their way into the cabin. Overall, however, the big 2016 Kia Cadenza meets our expectations for satisfying dynamics and luxury.
The 2016 Kia Cadenza’s relaxed road manners and cavernous interior make it an ideal vehicle for road trips.